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40th Anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision that legalized access to birth control for married persons. On June 7, 1965, the Supreme Court established the right to privacy in its decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, making contraception legal for married women.

In an important piece in the summer issue of Ms. Magazine, on the stands June 14, author Ellen Chesler examines the connection between the right to privacy and women’s right to access not only abortion but also contraception. She outlines how the privacy assumptions that supported Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the US, emerged from Griswold.

Chesler goes on to show how one more conservative Supreme Court justice could endanger not just abortion rights but four decades of Americans’ access to contraception. She points to the tenuous support for privacy protections and reproductive freedom on the current Supreme Court, especially an ominous 1992 ruling that narrowed the court’s support for privacy assumptions to a 5-4 margin. She warns that without federal privacy protections, legal rights to reproductive health decisions like abortion and contraception could return to the jurisdiction of state governments. This would put a woman’s right to reproductive choice and health in dire jeopardy.

LEARN MORE Ellen Chesler’s piece on the connection between Griswold and Roe and the threat to reproductive rights. For more background information, read the introduction to the special Urgent Report section in which the piece appears

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Sources:

Ms. Magazine Press Release 6/7/05